Students Claim Cheer Coach Touched Them Inappropriately
A lawsuit has been filed against a cheerleading gym after three students say a male coach exposed himself, engaged in sexual conversations, and touched them inappropriately. The coach was certified by several of the named defendants in the lawsuit. The defendants are accused of exposing vulnerable teens to a dangerous predator without properly vetting him or performing a background check.
In a case like this, an employer is vicariously liable for the conduct of an employee. That means that a plaintiff would not need to establish that the employee was negligent, only that the conduct occurred under the watch of the employer. Typical negligence lawsuits against institutions involving sexual abuse involve allegations that they protected predators from authorities or failed to conduct criminal background checks.
In this case, there are two separate allegations being made. The students are alleging that the cheer school is vicariously liable for the conduct of the coach, and the institutional bodies that certified the coach were negligent for failing to conduct adequate background checks. Below, we’ll unpack the latter negligence allegation.
Allegations concerning coach certification
There may be a brief window in which a certifying body has no foreknowledge of potential misconduct. However, in many cases, reports of sexual misconduct are swept under the rug. Instead of believing the victim and investigating the incident, those with the power to act likely assumed that the students were misinterpreting the conduct of the coach and they were ignored. By then, there were more victims. So, that does constitute institutional negligence. They failed to act on reports of inappropriate conduct and exposed more children to inappropriate conduct.
There are more allegations surfacing from this developing story as more victims step forward to report their experiences. Attorneys are alleging that instructors exposed the children to drugs and alcohol as well.
At this point, it appears that there is an admission that some of the children were exposed to abuse. However, the only defendant to issue a statement rejects allegations that they enabled or looked the other way while the abuse was occurring.
At present, there are seven coaches implicated in the scandal. Parents claim that adults engaged in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and sexual misconduct around children. They contend this happened openly and that supervisors failed to curb the misconduct or address the matter. They further claim that reports of abuse by students were ignored by supervisors.
Institutions often try to protect themselves by burying evidence against them. However, in the process, they also create more plaintiffs. In these situations, the institution has a moral obligation to intervene on behalf of the children and prevent future abuse. However, they’re afraid that headlines related to abuse could harm their bottom line. As a result, they end up exposing more children to abuse while they pretend they don’t know what’s going on.
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